Slate Gray June: Aela Morgan’s “All of Us”!

Slate Gray June: Aela Morgan’s “All of Us”!

Slate Gray Gallery opens its summer season with a show titled “All of Us,” which features the work of Aela Morgan, a global citizen and fine artist. The exhibition started with a special editions of Telluride Arts’ Art Walk, the Mountainfilm edition, and stays up at Slate Gray though June.

Complimentary Gallery Guides for the June 6th Art Walk, offering a self-guided tour, are available at participating venues or online at The guide can be used at any time to help navigate through galleries and venues that are open to the public most days. 

Go here for more about Slate Gray.

Go here for more about Telluride Arts and Art Walk.

“All of Us,”  courtesy Aela Morgan & Slate Gray, part of Bhutan series.

The greatest works of art have many lives inside them, a fact particularly true for world citizen and fine artist Aela Morgan. Her life is big, bold and audacious – as are her images, a fact the upcoming show at Slate Gray reflects in high relief. Titled “All of Us,” the May/June exhibition at the gallery, showcases Aela’s heartfelt response to the human condition: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Aela was recently honored for her philanthropy and activism by Elluminate, a Jewish nonprofit dedicated to exemplary women in Israel and around the world determined to open doors for other women seeking economic, religious, social and political equality.

You might then ask about the nexus of socio-cultural activism and art-making. Simple: Both require courage, focus, dedication and talent. Both disciplines also demand an understanding of one simple fact: “To be an artist is not a private act, but a public one. No artist is born into a vacuum, or later speaks in one. They are as much a product of the society they emerged from as a response to it.” (New York Times Magazine).

In other words, real artists like real activists bring about real disruption with the idea of bringing something new into the world: a new color, a new complexion, a new way of looking. Aela’s “All of Us” is all about her rich, often challenging, but mostly wonderful life experiences alchemized onto a canvas. In short, Aela takes her “art” straight out of “heART.”

For more, check out Aela Morgan’s email interview:

Aela Morgan, courtesy Slate Gray.

TIO: Slate Gray describes you as a “citizen of the world…” How do you respond to that handle?

AM: We experience life through our own unique lens. My personal journey of immigration, coupled with an insatiable curiosity, has opened me up to many different ways of life and philosophies. And the older I get, the more I have come to understand the universal themes inherent in our shared humanity – and that is what I paint. I believe reaching an understanding of our shared existence and experiences, when “me” becomes “we,” defines a citizen of the world.

TIO: You came to painting through the portal of photography. When and why did that journey begin and what did that evolution look like? Was your progression from print to ink, charcoal and paint to graphite, pastel, oil and acrylic to collage and mixed-media linear and organic? Or something a bit messier?

AM: I was madly in love with my kids when they were young, so I endlessly photographed their beauty and innocence. As they grew, I began to zoom out and into the landscape which eventually led me to focus on the trees and textures around us. The end result is a very large photographic library of bark, earth, water and sky. When I printed those images I felt the need to draw into the shapes, which led to painting and, eventually, a shift from working on printed images to working on plain canvas.

TIO: Please describe the process or processes you used to create your work on display at Slate Gray in your debut show at the gallery. Since there are four distinct bodies of work your processes could be different, even if the difference is simply your response to internal and external stimuli alone.

AM: My work is meant to tell stories about our shared humanity. Approaching a canvas triggers a process of exploration, so the act of painting itself becomes a moving meditation through which a new chapter in my book of life emerges. The process can be seen as a dance between my unfiltered emotions and my brushes. The work of the past four years, with Covid, a move to Telluride, a trip to Bhutan, and the horrific attack by a terrorist group in Israel at a music festival on October 7th, while clearly distinct events, each produced distinctly different outputs. Each series therefore represents how I processed those challenges and opportunities in my life.

TIO: Please describe your muses: What and/or who inspires, even drives you to create?

My muses? Relationships and Mother Nature. I love being intimately connected to others and flourish in my extended community. And I love love love the beauty of the great outdoors in its many incarnations. Also, I am inspired and find joy in seeing the work of other artists, beginners and great masters alike, and constantly rediscovering the truth that there is so much amazing talent that came before me – and will continue to come – and that we share a creative language. It is such a gift to work in this space.

TIO: Are you self-trained or schooled as a working artist?

AM: Studying art was never in my plans. School was meant to be a launchpad to income. Not until age 41, and after much pushing and prodding, did I finally take a local art class. There I met Maurizio, the Italian headmaster of the National Academy of Art in New York. He looked at my early sketches and told me I really did have something to say. I remember asking Maurizio to show me how to create movement on canvas. He laughed and said You will eventually figure that out.” From there, I found the Students Arts League of New York, where I worked with Robert Cendella on disciplines ranging from figure drawing to basic anatomy all the way up to oils.

TIO: In digestible sound bites please sum up the through lines of the four different bodies of work hanging on the walls of Slate Gray: 10.8, Bhutan, Telluride, New York. What distinguishes each series? What unites them?

AM: 10.8: The 12 small, but powerful paintings in the 10.8 series speak to the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7, 2023, in my native country of Israel. The miniature scale of the images is unusual. Generally I paint BIG. But these works speak to the visual stabs that flooded social media during the attack, which were surreal in their excruciating violence, particularly against women. Ironically I created 12 paintings which, though unplanned, clearly reference the 12 tribes of Israel. That makes sense to me because Jews everywhere, regardless of affiliation, all experienced that horrific event as an attack on their own flesh and blood.

AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER speaks not only to the insanity that humans have harmed one another for as long as time, but also to the fact that Jews and Arabs, Christians, Atheists, Buddhists, tall, short, black, white, yellow, gay, straight, etc. really are all family in so many ways. We are all BROTHERS AND SISTERS and I believe we ALL lost on 10/7. Truly a “WEEPING EARTH,” the same as when colonialists displaced the Native Americans and innocent Europeans died under Nazi rule. This cycle of violence has repeated over thousands of years as we continuously and sadly recycle dirt from the past.

Weeping Earth, courtesy Slate Gray


Am I My Brother’s Keeper, courtesy Slate Gray.

BHUTAN. After my lifelong dream to travel to the majestic hills of Bhutan and the Himalayas materialized in the Spring of 2022, I found myself slow to return to the studio. Bhutan was surreal in its duality: a land rooted in old, beautiful traditions and also a place that welcomed Tik Tok. Intensely spiritual, the country is dotted with colorful flags as reminders of our brief time on earth. Its I said, it took time for me to find the proper response. The result of my soul searching is painted masks or what we wear as our “faces” when we “show up” to live along with the other faces that we “meet.” ALL OF US are recycled in the Buddhist way, playing various roles as we pass through one cycle of life to be reborn into another.

Reincarnation, courtesy the artist & Slate Gray.

TELLURIDE/NEW YORK CITY. During the Pandemic, when the world as we knew it felt beyond our control, I worked a lot with inks. The dripping ink and acrylics that created so much beauty under my brushes was a result of simply letting go. PRESENCE speaks to being reborn into a new role and/or whatever new reality fate throws your way.

Squall, courtesy Slate Gray.


Presence, courtesy the artist & Slate Gray.

TIO: How does it feel to be showing your art once again in your adopted home of Telluride?

AM: I have a hard time believing my good fortune at finding this town. I felt at home the very first minute we landed here and I am grateful for the life and relationships Telluride has given me and my family. I have shown my work in town before, multiple times. I had a solo show at Ah Haa at the Depot. I was in group shows at Ah Haa, On Main, (and at Art Center of Western Colorado in 2015). I have donated pieces which, thankfully, moved quickly. But this Slate Gray exhibition is, for sure, my largest. Such an exciting opportunity for which I am very grateful.

TIO: As mentioned above, on May 7 you were honored as a “visionary philanthropist” by Elluminate, a New York-based non-profit that works to empower Jewish women around the world to make positive social change. What does the tribute mean to you and how does the work of Elluminate relate to your work as an artist?

AM: I was very proud to speak on behalf of all women associated with Elluminate, particularly the Israeli women, given the atrocities, global denial and diluted narratives about the October 7th happening everyday. It baffles me that many cannot see that event for what it was: an attack on Western values and democracy by extremists who see us all as infidels and, as a result of this misconception, choose not to co-exist peacefully. My work speaks to our collective inability to see ourselves as all part of one family, the human family. I hope everyone who shows up at Slate Gray, yes, enjoys my art for art’s sake, but also gets that message loud and clear.

  • Cohee Family
    Posted at 08:39h, 23 May Reply

    Profoundly beautiful, intelligent and powerful work. Thank you for sharing!

    • Susan Viebrock
      Posted at 10:09h, 24 May Reply

      I am sure Aela will appreciate your generous comment.

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